Using Apple's Password Assistant

Creating passwords that you can remember, but are also difficult to guess, can be a real pain, especially if you are new to computer security. To help ease that pain, Apple created the Password Assistant. If you donit know what to look for, however, youill never even know itis there.

If you are in a dialog that asks you to create a new password, like the New User pane we explored in the last Quick Tip, look next to the Password field for a button with a key symbol on it. Clicking the key button opens the Password Assistant Pane.

The key button opens the Password Assistant pane.

The Type pop-up menu lets you choose what kind of passwords your Mac should suggest to you. Memorable creates passwords that arenit overly difficult to remember, but should prove fairly hard for someone else to guess.

Choosing Memorable from the Type pop-up menu suggests passwords that you are more likely to remember.

Manual lets you enter a password while letting you know in real-time just how good your password is. A red Quality thermometer means you better come up with a different password. Green means your password will be more difficult to crack.

A bad password (left) is easy to guess, but a good password (right) isnit.

Once you have a password you like, go ahead and close the Password Assistant pane. Your new password is automatically entered into the Password field.

In many cases, the passwords you create are you only defense against anyone that tries to access your personal information without your consent. Easy passwords, like real words, or family and pet names, can be cracked in seconds. Try to stick with passwords that mix letters, numbers and punctuation symbols... and never tape your passwords to the side of your display.

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